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Syria terror accused 'had guns similar to those used by the IRA'

By George Jackson

A weapons expert has told a court that guns seen in photographs with a Londonderry man accused of terror offences in Syria were similar to those used by the Provisional IRA.

The forensic scientist and firearms specialist also told jurors on the eighth day of Eamon Bradley's trial that he would need to examine the weapons at first hand to determine their authenticity.

Bradley, who was arrested at his Creggan home in November 2014, is on trial accused of receiving weapons and explosives training at a terrorist camp in northern Syria. He is also charged with possessing a grenade with intent to endanger life or cause damage to property.

The 28 year-old denies committing the offences in Syria between March and October 2014. He says he was smuggled into Syria to help in the conflict against the Assad regime and Islamic State.

In the first trial of its kind here, photographs of the defendant standing in a tent alongside a tripod of assault rifles were shown to the jury.

The expert identified two of the weapons as AKM assault rifles and the third as an AK47.

He said the weapons were similar to those used by the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland.

The forensic scientist said that a 'Dushka' heavy duty machine gun which the defendant is alleged to have been trained to use was normally mounted on a tripod attached to the rear of a vehicle. He said the weapon, which had a range of up to 3,000 metres, was produced in Russia but copies had been made in China, Pakistan and in Romania. It was capable of firing up to 650 rounds per minute.

He described another machine gun the defendant is alleged to have been trained in, a BKC, as a portable support weapon which also could fire up to 650 rounds per minute.

The witness said that the AK assault rifles as well as the Duskha heavy duty machine gun and the BKC were prohibited under UK law. The trial continues.

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